“Elaborate statistics are not substitute
for meticulous experimentation.”
G.W. Snedecor

Backcross processes automation


Plant breeding programs involve multiple steps, and as a plant breeder you manage backcrossing programs for traits introgression according to your breeding goals. Backcrossing implies multiple decisions all along: number of individuals to evaluate in each generation, evaluation of agronomic traits, and selection of individuals…

A plant breeding software helps manage efficiently this long and repetitive process, mainly on three points:

  • • Material tracking
  • • Repetitive task automation
  • • Assistance in screening management

Tracking and query of backcross material

backcross material dynamic genealogy graph

How to find quickly the best elite F1 lines for your backcrosses? You need to query your materials easily, and this requires firstly a good germplasm qualification, and secondly powerful database software tools for querying. Here is an example of quick filter on Fixed line, Precocity and Frost resistance (click here to view the image). It will help you find the traits to transfer into the elite genotype.

You want to track your backcross material over years? Then you need a dynamic genealogy graph to explore your crosses. The next example explains how to visualize the genealogy of a specific genotype: 6 generations of parents (1x hybridization and 4x backcrosses), and the performance of their other similar progenies.

In the end, your work can be highly facilitated with the use of a plant breeding software to organize and store efficiently your data!

Automation of repetitive tasks during backcross

backcross material automatic codification naming

Backcross involves a long and repetitive process. As it generates a lot of information and several generations, automated tools in a backcrossing program helps you to save time and limit potential errors.

  • When you have progenies from different backcrosses experiments, it is not easy to remember and fulfill the good recurrent. This process can be automated: The software automatically finds the recurrent of the selected progenies to backcross again.
  • Besides, along the backcross process you obtain new progenies, and need to codify this new material. Such codification can also be automated: The software proposes recurrent names according to your wording method, for instance a concatenation of the parent’s names. Don’t worry about the integrity of pedigree: it is fully tracked by the system links into the database. It becomes easy to know how many generations have been done to test the fixity of traits.

Such automation relies on the flexibility of your plant breeding software, and on the configuration of your IT team. With a configuration that fits your needs, you have more chances to love your plant research software !

Assistance in backcross progenies screening

Automate field data collection

Either in conventional or marker assisted breeding, you screen your material along the progress of traits introgression and test the fixity. How digital tools dedicated to plant breeders may support you in this process of screening?

In conventional breeding, for example for a backcross program to get rust resistance, we want to keep all the progenies of the previous backcross that show enough resistance. It all starts in the field when you score notations to study the rust tolerance or resistance and eventually select materials to promote. A software like RnDExp® Mobile helps optimize field monitoring. The data is synchronized and automatically uploaded into the central database to analyze the results.


Marker-assisted breeding enables to compile phenotypical and genetic information for breeding decision making. Laboratory automation can save much time and limit error risks at each step of the process: Preparing the list of materials, collect samples, exchange data with the LIMS and analyze the traits to check which progenies are resistant. The progenies with the targeted markers can easily be promoted for next phase (self or Backcross).


Genealogy tree visualization with traits display (among other information) can also help breeders to quickly see when a disjunction of traits inheritance has been observed into a genetic family. A quick visualization supports a better description of traits transmission along generations to optimize then their backcrosses programs, and interactive genealogy graphs help breeders take decisions!

Why automate your backcrosses with RnDExp®?

Automate your backcrosses with RnDExp plant breeding software

The flexibility of the software enables you to manage the backcrossing program specificities for your various species, and all your different breeding goals in a unique system.

The original database architecture dedicated to Generalized Experiment Management (GEM) and the centralized management ensure the integrity of the pedigree to track the traits introgression over generations and the fixity progress.

As a collaborative tool, it enables to share research work throughout the whole RnD department, enhancing communication between your breeding team and the other activities: field evaluation, laboratory and management.

RnDExperience® drives you all along the backcrossing process, from the first crossing decision to the generation of new elite lines, as well as in conventional as in marker assisted process, and provides assistance with automated tasks and graphical breeding tools. Learn more by watching the full video below!

Replay Webinar : How to manage efficiently your backcrosses, by Rudy Mezino.

Assistance in parent choices, management of lines and self-pollination, breeding nurseries and behavioral nurseries.
Automatic codification of generation n+1 using your custom methods
Study of material by experiment at the raw, plant and genotype level
Geographic adjustment by the closest controls and latin square controls
View of color-coded results and calculated variables

How to manage efficiently your backcrosses, by Rudy Mezino.

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The expertise of Doriane brings the three players of R&D the resources to organize, share and valorize their research projects:
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